Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Why I Am Choosing To Become A Doula!

May I preface this article by saying this..."this is a long story in the making". This is NOT a last-minute-whim of a decision :-)

My story begins a long long time ago....18 years ago to be exact. I was a young 15 year old girl in High School who had a friend who had been born on "The Farm". Yes, that's right! She was born into a family who lived on Ina May Gaskins Farm in Summertown, TN during the 1980's. She would talk about how it was her dream to have all her children someday at home with a midwife. AAAAHHH! Talk about shocking to young 15-16 year olds!! LOL! Seriously? Have your children AT HOME? With...oh what did you call her?....oh, a midwife? What is THAT? :-)

Dear readers, this is how my story began...:-)

Little did I know that my friend talking about The Farm, homebirth, and midwives would start me on a journey to where I am now.

After my DH and I were married in 2000 and were expecting our first child in 2001, I was faced with that life changing decision...where do I have my baby?? It's easy to be in the family-way, so to speak, but it's hard to decide where to have your baby. I knew that I was totally NOT sold on the traditional hospital-needles-forceps-drugs-possible surgery option, so I began to look around. There wasn't much.:-) But, the Lord was gracious and He led me to a Midwife who operated out of a fairly local hospital, so that's the direction I went. It was a pregnancy filled with a lot of the same standard interfering type practices, but at least I only had to have one nurse present besides my midwife at the birth. When our little girl was born, I still ended up with an  unneccesary episiotomy that left me unable to walk well for 3 months and complications that I will battle for the rest of my life. It was a tremendous let down. "Next time will be different" I promised myself.

Two and a half years passed. We're now expecting our 2nd baby girl and we are now living in a homebirth friendly state! I have the most wonderful midwife a woman could EVER want! Then, our little one dies at just 5.5 months gestation. My God-sent Midwife stepped in and turned that tragedy into something that we later can look back on and call "a gift". Her loving care of me and our family during that time is something that has stuck with me all through the years since. She stayed with me and allowed me to deliver at home. She came and checked on me periodically. She called me. She cared.

Another year and a half passes. We're expecting our third child...another little girl! I still had my same Midwife throughout this uneventful, smooth, and easy pregnancy! I had a quick easy labor and birth with no complications and I owe a lot of it to the incredible nature of my midwife. I WAS SOLD. Homebirth it was for me from here on out!!!

3 years later we find out we are expecting our fourth child. We are back in another "unfriendly to homebirth/midwives state" and I'm looking around for options. Sadly, our little one passed away at 10 weeks gestation and this time there was no one to be with me or comfort me. It was a tough time, but God was gracious and His care of us was undeniable!

Shortly after this, a dear friend of mine found out that she was expecting and she asked me to come for the birth to help keep things organized and to help her with whatever she needed during the birth. I was THRILLED! What a privilege to have a friend love and trust you so much that they would want to have you with them during one of the most special times of their lives! This was going to be a homebirth and I couldn't wait! The birth-day came and it was one of the most incredible and special days of all my life! During the whole 12 hour labor, I just kept thinking to myself "this is me! this is who I am! I love this! I could do this for the rest of my life and always love it!" Little did I know...:-)

Soon after another friend asked me to attend her birth as well! Once again, I was estatic!! Although the birth ended up in a transport to the hospital, I will never forget the privilege it was for me to be with my friend and to be able to provide comfort to her at home and at the hospital when I went with her for the transport. What a blessing!!!

Again, another 2 years passed and we are expecting a little boy! By this time, I'm a little more prepared :-) I've found a good midwife and have planned it all out right down to what we'll have for dinner the night he's born! God always has a way of changing those "plans" doesn't he? :-) Our son's birth ended up with a transport to the NICU for an under developed lung and after two weeks he was able to come home! Who do you think was one of the first people to stop by and see him? His midwife. This precious lady will forever have my gratitude for allowing me to birth as I wanted to and who stood by us when we had to transport.

I cannot help but be overwhelmed as I write these stories down (I've shortened them A LOT! lol!) for they were what has made me into what I am TODAY. I am a Doula. It's my passion (outside of my piano:-) and I firmly believe that God lead me down this path, starting in 2001, for a specific reason. I want to use my knowledge and the knowledge I will have :-) with God's help and the best of my ability to help women in labor so that they can have the birth that THEY want. Wherever they choose to birth is THEIR CHOICE, but I want to be there providing the best comfort and care that I can so that their birth is everything that they dreamed it would be!

Will I stop at just being a Doula? No way :-) My ultimate goal is to be able to be both Midwife and Doula! The Doula part is just my introduction into the full picture and it's where God is leading me right now! I love Doula-ing and hope someday God may open that door to also be a Midwife! I have a family. They come first! They always have. They are the reason I have not pursued this earlier. I have had a little boy who has been very needy and my first calling in life is to meet those needs. Now that he is older and more "un-needy" I feel that it is a good time to start the studying and learning part of my Doula Certification Process. I am looking forwards to sharing this part of my life with my girls as they get older and someday, Lord willing, I would count it a privilege to be able to train them to do what I do and maybe even be able to apprentice them as a midwife-trainee!!

Our sadly lacking medical system is in dire need of more maternal birth care and I hope that the Lord will use me in this area in a great way! I look forwards to what the future holds and what He has in store for myself and for my family! It all started with a young 15 year old girl sharing with me her dreams and hopes for her future...and here I it. God is good. All the time.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Family Devotions Made Easy!

If your family is anything like OUR family, having family devotions with small children can be...well...challenging to say the least :-) It ends up being hit-and-miss, distracting, drawn out, you name it! More than likely it ends up being another challenge, right at the end of the day when you are the most tired, instead of a time refreshing and unwinding from the long day.

You have in your minds eye all these wonderful things you'd love to do for family devotions like learning multiple verses, memorizing new hymns, using creative flannel graph or drawings to illustrate your long-studied mini message, etc...etc...etc...BUT, in reality, you do good to read one verse, talk about it, pray, and drag everyone to bed. :-)

Am I right?

If I were the one reading this instead of writing it, I would say, "DEAD ON!!!"  *insert crossed eyes and huge sigh*

My husband and I have realized that life comes in stages and that every stage requires a different game plan. What worked when we had one child, does not work with three children who are five years apart, ranging from 12 to 2 ! We realized that a 12 year old needs more than a 2 year old...*whew, rocket science!* LOL!
We also realized that a 2 year old does not have the attention span of a 7 and 12 year old. *whew, more rocket science!* LOL!

So, what did we do?

We did this....

Every morning before Daddy goes to work, he gives us a chapter to read (right now we're in the Psalms). The girls and I read the chapter on our own and then take a verse that really stood out to us and we write it down on our 3x5 card. We then write a few thoughts about why that verse was special to us and we set it aside in a little box to wait for the evening family time.
When Daddy comes home and immediately following supper, the little box comes out and everyone takes their 3x5 card out. One by one we go around the dinner table and read our verse and thoughts out loud. We have a short discussion on the whole chapter, pray, and then everyone is dismissed to finish the evening's activities.

No one is hungry. No one is tired. No one is distracted because we're still sitting at the supper table. Our 2 year old son usually sits through the whole thing with us and "writes" on his card :-) If he can't sit the whole time, he's allowed to get down and go play in his room while we finish.

It's simple. It's thorough. It's easy enough for a 7 year old to do it and yet encourages the 12 year old to dig a little deeper *which she often does*. It strengthens reading capabilities in our 7 year old and challenges us as the parents to be ready to give an answer for the questions that come! All in all, it takes only 20 minutes or so and everyone enjoys it!

So many times in the Christian home, the Bible is the last thing we do...we keep it at bay until the very end of the day when we are the tiredest, most distracted, and most "ready to just go to bed". Bible time ends up being a thing you do in stead of a thing you want to do. And then, more often than not, it gets skipped because the evening's activities went on well past bedtime and it's too late to do anything.

We've come to enjoy this new little thing that we do around God's Word as a family and I hope it's helped spark an idea of what could help you and your family spend more quality time in God's Word!
I'd love to hear what you and your family do for Bible time, so please feel free to leave a comment to share with the rest of us as to what did or didn't work for your family!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Project Mendy Brockman

Good morning fellow readers! Many of you have read of Mendy and her car accident and are praying for her! Thank you so much! Here's something that you can do....

We have started a gofundme account for Mendy here. Since Mendy is paralyzed from the chest down with some movement in arms and wrists, we are raising money to provide her with a touch screen ipad and iphone. She currently has neither and uses Jason's (her husband) when he is able to come to the hospital. I know that this would be a tremendous blessing to them if we can get this money raised (plus any extra is always needed!) so we can get this for her and pay for a years service to both as well. They have so many needs, as you can imagine, and this is just one that I know we can help with!

Would you consider what you could do?? If we have 200 people only give $15 each, that would put us at our goal! If you can't give, would you pray? Would you get the word out about Mendy and her gofundme account? Will you be her feet and hands? Will you help?

Thank you so much!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mondays For Mendy: Meet Mendy Brockman!

Good morning, dear reader friends! I know that a lot of my posts have been about  Mendy Brockman and her accident back in July, but she is one of my dearest friends and she needs prayer for healing right now!

I'm going to share a link to a video from her Mondays for Mendy page where you will get to hear her husband Jason explain the full extent of Mendy's abilities up to this point. Please keep in mind that Mendy is a young Mom to four small children ages 6, 5, 4, and 22 months. Her oldest is beginning Kindergarten in just a couple of weeks, so be praying for Mendy as that new phase of life begins without her. Walk in her shoes for just a moment and you would know that you would want people praying for you to get better too!!

Here's the link...Mendy's Update...please scroll down the main page until you see "Recent Update" and click on the video link just below that. You can also subscribe to receive updates from her page every Monday if you would like!

Let's get the word out about praying for this young family! If you have not read Mendy's story you can read it here.

The testimony for Christ that my sweet friend and her husband are exhibiting right now is so amazing! When you read their story, hear their giving thanks to God for all of this, and see how steadfast that they remain in their faith, you MUST know that there is a God in Heaven! Only HE could give such peace and comfort through all of this! We have the opportunity to know and serve a Living you know Him, friend?

The Bible says that we can know for sure that God, the Creator of the Universe and us, loves us and that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our wicked sins so that we could KNOW that our unrighteousness has been forgiven and that we have a home in Heaven! If you don't know that, I would love to share with you how you can know! If you don't have a Bible, God's precious words from Him to us, I would like to give you one! Just message me and I would love to share with you this wonderful Lord that has not only given my friend Mendy and her husband Jason this incredible peace and comfort through this terrible trial, but has also freed my heart, and can free yours too, from the bondage of sin through His gift of salvation!

Jeremiah 33:3 -"Call unto me and I will answer thee, and shew thee GREAT and MIGHTY things which thou knowest not."

He has promised to answer...will you call unto Him today? What if you had been in Mendy's shoes? What if you had NOT survived the accident? What would happen to your spirit after it departed from your body? The Lord promises that the spirit of the believer, once absent from the body, will be present with the Lord. What about yours? Life is a vapor, friends. We're not guaranteed another second! BUT, this I do know...if my friend Mendy had not survived the accident, we would meet again someday in Heaven with our Savior! Mendy's faith is not in her Doctor's or in her physical capabilities to rehab herself, her faith is in her Lord and Savior to keep her, guide, and use her  for His glory!

Don't let another minute go by without getting your eternity settled! Life happens so quick. It changes so fast. Don't throw this post to the burying pile in your mind. Your Lord and Master is gently calling you...please heed the call! Mendy would love to know that her testimony of faith is showing the world that we truly have a Living God that can be trusted with not only our bodies, but with our souls for the keeping of them of all eternity! Remember, the Lord has promised to hear those that call unto Him!

Pray for the Mendy and Jason Brockman Family!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mondays for Mendy

Good morning :-) We're having a bit of sunshine again today and I for one am glad for that! All the rain has made things so soggy and boggy, so any bit of sunshine is always welcome!

I wanted to give a little update on Mendy and share with you the Mondays For Mendy page. This page has been put together by Jason and Mendy's former Home Church out in California as a way of keeping you up to date day by day for their needs and daily prayer requests. It has been called Mondays for Mendy as Mendy has requested that people pray for her specifically and consistently one day a week. Now, I pray almost hourly every day for her, but this is a great way for people to be reminded to intercede for them in prayer.

If you have not heard Mendy's story, please click here.

By clicking this link Monday's for Mendy, it will take you to the page that you can view daily and get updates on her progress and specific prayer requests that she and Jason have.

She is in good spirits and has come SO far! God's Grace is so evident and we are very thankful for the miracles He has already brought to pass and are looking forwards to seeing what He is going to do in the future!

Thank you for praying!

Monday, July 8, 2013

PRAYING FOR MENDY BROCKMAN...urgent call to prayer for all my readers!!!

Good morning to all of my readers....

Late this past Friday night, a young Mom was driving to the airport to pick her husband up..something completely routine in this young woman's life. On the way home, a car suddenly pulled out in front of them from the shoulder of the road. Their car clipped the other drivers, went into a spin, and flipped many times.  The husband was able to break out a window and crawl out with minor injuries. The young mom, my best friend for all of my life, was pinned upside down with a broken neck. The Jaws of Life were required to get her out and she was then life flighted to the nearest hospital.

As of this morning, after an extensive 12 hour surgery, she can move her arms/shoulders, but still has no feeling in her hands/wrists. There is also no feeling from her waist down. Her name is Mendy Brockman. She is a mother to four small children, ages 6 and under, her youngest being only a year old. The possibility of permanent paralysis from the chest down is great.

This family needs our PRAYERS!! God can do miracles and we know that. He also gives the miracle of GRACE to believers when He says no to the miracle of healing. We're asking Him to do His will in this situation. Will you join with us in praying for The Brockman Family? Will you spread the word in your families, communities, and churches?

Well wishes and Financial support can be sent to the following if you feel led by the Lord to do so...

Jason and Mendy Brockman
ICO Lighthouse Baptist Church
4280 Hopeful Drive
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80917

Mendy and Adalyn (my middle child)

Mendy and my oldest child (2006)
 I've known Mendy all of my life. We've been through so many things together and the pain of all of this is incredible. She has been my friend, mentor, encourager, amongst many other things. She needs our prayers and encouragement and I know it would greatly encourage them (her especially) to hear from people they don't even know that they are being prayed for and lifted up before the Throne of Heaven! Thank you for praying!

**UPDATE** Thursday, July 11**

This update is coming from a mutual friend who has been able to be in close contact with the Brockmans during this time.

 I talked to Jason this evening and he and Mendy are definitely overwhelmed. Each day brings new challenges and he asked me to post a couple of things to clarify Mendy's condition. There have been some posts about Mendy not being paralyzed above the waste, but that is not accurate. Mendy is not able to do much at all above the waist, and nothing below the waist.

She is now out of ICU, and they hope to begin some rehab pretty soon. This will be a very long term progression, and right now they are just trying to keep her moving some, so other complications won't occur, like bed sores and such.

Jason is physically fine, but, as you can imagine, he is quite exhausted and needs as much prayer support as possible. He does not have a Facebook account, but will likely get on Mendy's to clarify some things when he can. He is looking at other ways to communicate also, such as CaringBridge, but he has a lot on him now. I am looking into some details for him on that.

Please keep praying and know that they appreciate that very much. You are welcome to send notes, emails, and texts, but please understand that he won't be able to return many at all right now.

Use the following address, for physical mail:

Jason and Mendy Brockman
c/o Lighthouse Baptist Church
4280 Hopeful Drive
Colorado Springs, Colorado

If you want to help support them in any financial way, their church has a PayPal account. Just go to PayPal and then choose: Send Money and put the following email address in:

You can also send checks to the church directly with a note that it is to support Mendy Brockman.

**UPDATE: July 29, 2014** Mendy is doing remarkably well! She and her husband Jason just returned from ministering in a Conference for young adults and singles. This was Mendy's first time to be away from home ministering alongside her husband since the accident. 

The reason I give you this update that is up to now Mendy has been able to miraculously regain a lot of upper body movement. Her hands though remain weak and they are seeking the use of a ARP Wave Machine to help aid in her having more mobility and strength. This machine costs around $20,000 and is not covered by insurance. Mendy and Jason have trusted the Lord completely for all of their needs and we only found out about this just recently (they do not volunteer their needs :-) we have to drag it out of them!) If you will go to this link it will give more details and will share how you can help! Even if you cannot help, we COVET your prayers for this family! Thank you to all who have prayed and have passed Jason and Mendy's story along to others for prayer! 

Homemade Energy Boost...what are you doing today for your health?

Doesn't this look inviting???!!!

Wild blackberries, cucumber, red and yellow beets, and raw yogurt

Berry Delight Blender Juice!
What are you doing today for your health?? This blender juice took all of 10 minutes to make and it made enough for each of my children to have 8 oz. (I have 3 kids :-) and for me to have 16 oz! Everything in it was completely local and fresh. Now, THAT is what we call "eating healthy"!

Being healthy isn't complicated. It doesn't require the sanction of someone wearing a white coat. It's nothing to be afraid of. Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to do. Step out today and do what you know is good for you! Try this simple recipe and do it day after day and then see if after a while you start feeling better, feeling happier and healthier!

Berry Delight Blender Juice:
  2 Handfuls of wild blackberries
  1 cucumber
  2 red beets
  2 yellow beets
  1 TB raw honey
  1/4 cup raw yogurt (optional) *I put yogurt in my juices to add beneficial bacterias for my gut*
  46 oz. purified water

Blend, strain through a fine mesh strainer, pour, and ENJOY!

Click here for more blender juice recipes!!!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Homemade Blender Green Juice...easy and tasty!

Blender Juice! I love it! Blender juice has become my best friend the past month due to myself doing a whole body detox, colonics, and herbal treatments for parasites. I may share why I'm doing that someday, but not now :-)

A while back, before I began detoxing, I was given a stack of old books from the 50's-60's that have to do with home remedies, naturopathic medicine, herbal concoctions, and such. I love reading books like these because the medical approach to everything back then took a more natural holistic approach and over the counter things were absolute last resorts. Interesting how that has changed :-) Anyways, one of the books I was reading was strictly on using blender juices to heal every ailment under the sun. 

I personally feel that juices are very necessary for cleansing, but really, one can only do this safely when fresh organic pesticide free produce is in season. Meaning, that detoxing the body effectively can only take place during the spring and summer months while vegetables that are key for cleansing are in production. Hence, what I am about to share is my own personal experience and is not to be taken for medical advice :-)

Back to the juicing....I have a Champion Juicer that I use when I need to really get the juices out (like when I'm using carrots) , but it is messy and a lot of work. So I began making juices in my blender according to the instructions in my book! You can use SO many different things, but here are some of my favorite blends.

BTW...the only thing you need is a blender, a fine mesh sieve, vegetables, fruit, and your hands :-)

Green Juice:
Handful of green curly kale or lacinto kale
1 peeled cucumber
Juice of 1 lemon or orange
Raw local honey to taste (I usually put in a TB or two)
46 oz. of clean, purified, distilled...water

Put everything in the blender and liquefy. Pour through the fine mesh strainer into a stainless bowl. Use a spoon to swirl the mixture around until all you are left with is the pulp. Pour into a pitcher and either drink right away or keep in the fridge for only up to 2 hours. After that you have no nutrients left :-)

Beet and Cucumber Juice:
2 medium sized beets, peeled
2 cucumbers, peeled
Juice of 1 large orange
Honey to taste
46 oz. of water

Celery and Lemon Juice:
 Wash 4 stalks of celery thoroughly
 Juice of two lemons
 Honey to taste (you would probably like to use 2 TB on this one:-)
 30 oz. of water

There are so many variations to this, so get creative and come up with some juices that really appeal to you and your family! My family loves these juices and I also put yogurt in sometimes too for extra probiotics. My two year old son calls the juices "my duice!" and if he likes them, then you will too :-) 


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Easy Garden Vegetable Casserole

I love Summertime food...I don't like summer, but I like the food :-) My kids argue vehemently over that with me because they love the pool, but I don't like the heat. I guess the Lord knew that and did not have me live in a very hot climate like Brazil or!

When vegetables like kohlrabi, cabbage, spring carrots, onions, and such start to come in, I begin to look for different ways to fix them. Kohlrabi is one of those vegetables that most people don't know about or if they do, they don't know what to do with it other than slice and dip in ranch dressing. 

I have a Spring Vegetable Casserole Recipe that I would like to share with you that I came up with a few months ago. The original idea for this casserole came from a breakfast dish my mom would make for Christmas Breakfast...I just changed a few things to make it more versatile! This recipe is SO easy and SO delicious that even your picky-eater-child will want to eat this!!!

Here goes....

Grease a 9x13 inch glass baking dish. Crumble 8 bread rolls, biscuits, or 10 pieces of sliced bread into the bottom of the greased dish. 

In a large mixing bowl combine the following ingredients and whisk together...
   1. 8 farm raised eggs
   2. 1 cup raw milk
   3. 2 tsp. mustard ( I love to use mustard by Eden...yummy!)
   4. 1/2 tsp  Celtic Gray or Redmond Real salt

In a skillet on the stove over medium heat, brown 1 pound of either ground beef or sausage. You can do half and half of the beef and sausage to give the dish a little more spice if yo want.  Personally, that is what I do because I really don't care for either meat by themselves but think they make an awesome combo!

Sprinkle the browned meat over the crumbled bread rolls in the dish.

Now for the vegetables.....chop or dice 1 large kohlrabi, two spring carrots, enough onion to suit your own personal preferences, a few sprigs of broccoli, and if tomatoes are in season, 1 large tomato. Sprinkle these chopped vegetables over the browned meat.

Pour the liquid mixture over top of the meat and vegetables.

Grate 8 oz. of sharp cheddar cheese ( I love Cabot Cheese!) and sprinkle over all.

Bake at 375 uncovered until center is set and bubbly and the sides are lightly browned! Take out and let cool for 10 minutes before serving!

I have yet to have any complaints from anyone that I've served this Casserole to! Here are some pictures of one that I made recently myself!
Casserole before the cheese!

These are two of my Giant Kohlrabi's that I got for $1 a piece at my local farmers market...they were the size of large Cabbages!!!

Topped with yummy Cabot Cheese!

Ready to EAT! Doesn't this look SO yummy??
 With all the vegetables starting to come in now, I encourage you to get creative and find some different ways to prepare your vegetables other than just chopping them up and throwing them on top of a bed of greens. Not that doing them that way is a bad thing, but it can get boring and can be hard for little ones to eat and digest. Putting them raw into a casserole that only bakes them until they are tender is a great way to help children eat things that are good for them in a very "eye pleasing" way!

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will be sharing a Green Drink that I make in my blender using fresh vegetables and greens that will put down the "Uggh, it's GREEN!" philosophy:-) Even my two year old loves to drink his "juice" so I know you will enjoy it too! Stay tuned!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Family Trip to Pickwick Dam 2013 Part 1

A couple of weeks ago we had the privilege as a family to go to Savannah TN and visit Pickwick, Shiloh National Military Park, and The Cherry Mansion. This part of TN holds so much Civil War History and although I've been there more times than I can count (this part of the country is my Dad's Stompin' ground), I enjoyed it more than ever this year! I'm hoping we can go back again and do some more of what we didn't get to this trip!  Enjoy the pictures!

TN River Museum Fossil Dig exhibit

Harrison and Addy posing with some Early Settlers'...they were a bit hesitant because the figures looked so real :-)


Bridge crossing over the TN River right in front of the Cherry Mansion

The Cherry Mansion

Serious Civil War Talk going on here :-)
Another view of the Cherry Mansion. It was built in the late 1830's early 1840's? and everything you see is exactly what you would have seen if you had been General Grant :-) Eerie thought, isn't it ?:-)

Swimming in the lake...exact spot that my sisters and I swam at when we were Addy's age :-)

Dad in his element :-)

Si-man watching the ducks
Beginning our Tour of Shiloh National Military Park....with the man himself:-)

Caleb and Silas thought they were in heaven with all the "climbing blocks"...don't worry, we snapped a picture and then promptly removed dishonor was intended :-)

Pittsburgh Landing

Caleb and "Mimi" hanging out in the shade

A view looking towards the Hornets Nest that ran along the Sunken Road
Caleb and Silas checking the cannon's out

I will post part two of our trip tomorrow!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Organic and Natural Body Care Summer Recipes Part 4

Anti-Bug Repellant

Can't you just smell that soap??? :-)

I love the smell of lemon and rosemary, especially in a soap...but that's not the point here :-)

Back before I left on vacation, I was hoping to get this post done, but time ran out on me so I had to postpone! We had a great time with family and friends, but I am glad to be back in my little spot and get back to a routine again.

I have a terrible time with insects and mosquitoes biting me this time of year, especially since we've been drowned with rain since the first of April! It has rained nearly every day since and though I do not complain about the rain, I do NOT like all the extra mosquitoes it breeds :-)

There are many different alternatives to using toxic DEET that though they have to be reapplied often, are much safer and healthier alternatives. Here's a few that we use around our house and how we apply them....

    1. Lemon Juice : I slice open a lemon and rub it all over everyone's arms and legs. DO NOT do this if you have just shaved your legs, ladies!! lol! Experience is speaking on this one....:-)
     2. Bar soap : We do not use commercial soap for bathing because of chemicals and sulfates contained, but keep a bar on hand for insect repellant. Really? Stop and think about that...something that is supposed to clean you can keep insects off you because it will make them sick. So, what does it do to you? Might want to research that :-)  Anyways, I slightly wet the bar and rub it all over exposed skin, but NOT the face. You never want to inhale the fumes of anything containing chemicals, not even bar soap. 

    3. Sage: I have two large sage plants in my garden that grow beautifully and interestingly enough, never suffer from bug infestation. The herbs that I plant near them never do either :-) Mosquitoes especially do not like the smell of sage. There are a couple different things you can do with the sage can break off the leaves, tear them in half and rub furiously all over your body (you can do the face with these:-), you can steep the leaves in a bit of boiling water for 15 min., strain, and bottle in an old hairspray bottle and keep in the fridge for instant spray on repellant (this will go bad in a week or so), or you can combine the sage leaves with rosemary, lemon balm, and pyrethrum flowers in olive oil or another favorite body oil, infuse for three weeks, strain, add vitamin E oil for prolonged shelf life, and rub on every time you go outside! 

See, you don't have to use that dangerous rubber and plastic solvent DEET!! You don't have to compromise your brain cells and those of your small children for the sake of a few mosquitoes! In Nature we can find God's answers to so many of our day to day troubles if we will just take a little time to learn and apply what we learn. I am so thankful for the wisdom of our Almighty God in that He, at the beginning of Creation, made a way for us to be able to deal with the troubles of our sin-cursed world. Isn't He so good?? 

Learning about plants and herbs has been such a blessing to me as the more I learn, the more I see the hand of God in my world surrounding my day to day life. I see His provision in providing herbs for healing, wild and edible plants for eating, and others for just pure enjoyment because of the beauty that they provide for the eye, which in turn brings a smile to my face! 

by: Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
      LOWERS preach to us if we will hear:--
      The rose saith in the dewy morn:
      I am most fair;
      Yet all my loveliness is born
      Upon a thorn.
      The poppy saith amid the corn:
      Let but my scarlet head appear
      And I am held in scorn;
      Yet juice of subtle virtue lies
      Within my cup of curious dyes.
      The lilies say: Behold how we
      Preach without words of purity.
      The violets whisper from the shade
      Which their own leaves have made:
      Men scent our fragrance on the air,
      Yet take no heed
      Of humble lessons we would read.
      But not alone the fairest flowers:
      The merest grass
      Along the roadside where we pass,
      Lichen and moss and sturdy weed,
      Tell of His love who sends the dew,
      The rain and sunshine too,
      To nourish one small seed. 
      I challenge you this summer to look about you as you go to and from your place of work or play, and take notice of all the wonderful things that God has placed in our world for you to enjoy either by sight or by taste. The Heavens truly declare the glory of God, and the firmament doth show forth His Handiwork! We just have to take time to notice and learn :-) 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Organic and Natural Summer Body Care Recipes Part 3

Coconut oil: natures natural sunscreen

As the days of "basking in the sun" are now here, many people run to their local grocery store and wipe the shelves clean of all kinds of "sunblocks, sunscreens, and sun enhancers ...tanning lotion:-)". I used to use regular sunscreen until I began to do some research and I came across this and many more like it. I encourage you to do some reading on your own and consider just what it is that you are slathering all over yourself.

Anyways, I began looking for alternatives and I came across several articles about using raw coconut oil coupled with, as always, a healthy diet. The skin is our body's largest organ and it's protection and health come from the inside out. How your skin reacts to it's environment is an indicator of the health of your insides.

Vitamin D is a necessary vitamin for our mental and physical well being. The best form of Vitamin D is sunlight and it has to enter the body through the skin and eyes. The typical individual when venturing into the sun does the "protect your body from skin cancer thingy" and number one, slathers their body from head to toe with cancer causing sunscreens, and number two, slaps on a pair of sunglasses. Whala! 98% protection from the sun = extreme Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D cannot be obtained through store dairy products either. Read more on that here.

Here's what I do with my family.....

1. We are not out in the sun much between the hours of 10am-2pm because of higher uva rays.

2. We have an extremely healthy diet, complete with raw milks, meats, vegetables, fruits, and herbal teas to promote a healthy skin that can withstand sun rays with no burning

3. I slather my kids in Raw Coconut Oil 10 minutes before they go outside and repeat a slathering every 1.5-2 hours... more or less especially if they are swimming :-)

4. If we are not swimming, we put on coconut oil and ball caps to shade our heads and faces. Nobody wears sunglasses :-)

If you would like to have a more portable and easier to apply sunscreen, then check out this recipe over at Frugally Sustainable ! Most everything you need for anything DIY you can get at Amazon...I buy lots of things there that are not readily accessible  to me due to the fact that I live in a small town that is an hour or more away from!

Stay tuned tomorrow for "Bug Bite Remedies and Natural Insect Repellants". Here's a challenge for you today to prepare you for tomorrow's post....look up and read about the dangers of using "Deet" and why it should never be something you have in your house, much less use on your body!

So enjoy this beautiful "Sun-shiney" Day and be glad that now you know how to get the most from God's gift of Sunshine without getting burned ! This is the DAY which the Lord hath  made, we (I) will rejoice and be GLAD in it! Psalms 118:23 **insert is mine**

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Organic and Natural Summer Body Care Recipes Part 2

Lavender Oil Body Mist
I love Lavender :-)

I love the smell of it, the color of it, everything...

Lavender has been one of my best friends the past couple of years because it can do so many different things! You can add a few drops to your soap mixture if you make bar soap, you can use 20 drops to give a delightful scent to homemade laundry powder, it eases muscle aches and pains when rubbed directly on to the sore spot, and last of all, you can make a body spritz with it!!!

This body mist is A.W.E.S.O.M.E!! Here's what you do...

Take an empty hairspray bottle (make sure you've cleaned it out very good!!) and pour in 2 oz. of fresh purified/distilled water. Do NOT use city water, please! It's full of chlorine and you don't want to be constantly spraying chlorine all over your skin!
To the 2 oz. of water, add in 40 drops of organic lavender essential oil. Shake well. Spritz all over face and chest and pat in to absorb. Do this several times throughout your day and it will give you an immediate "pick me up" as well as calm you! It's amazing! **this can be doubled**

I do this every day and I love how fresh and bright my skin looks! It works wonders for problematic skin and will not clog your pores. Actually, it does the opposite especially if you spritz your face immediately after a workout and wipe it clean with a towel, and then re-spritz it.   

Now this is something that I came up with myself so I am not  diagnosing or treating problematic skin issues. I am just sharing something that I've had great success with! It has also helped me calm myself while dealing with stressful situations because lavender is a known stress reliever! aka....screaming toddler all day???!!

You can also make yourself a delicious stress/pain relieving tea from fresh or dried lavender flowers by either brewing the flowers in a coffee pot with a filter just as you would coffee, or by steeping them in hot water for 4 hours to make a stronger infusion. When finished, just add some raw honey and drink those stresses away! 

The Lavender body mist is great to spritz on bug bites or onto little baby bottom rashes...I speak from personal experience :-) Lavender is a healing herb so anyway that you use it...spritz's, soaps, is going to bring healing in a very safe and natural way! 

So get out there and try something new and be happy in the fact that what you are using is completely safe and chemical free and smells divine to boot :-) 

**tomorrow I will not be sharing a post because I will be helping my Dad process the family's meat chickens. I'm looking forwards to having a freezer FULL of delicious meat that is safe to eat because I know how they were raised and what they were raised on! But, that's a post for another day:-)**

Thursday I will be posting  a Natural Sunscreen recipe that I personally use for all of us! Stay tuned!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Organic and Natural Summer Body Care Recipes Part 1

Organic Body Care Recipes

When my oldest child was 5 (7 years ago), she developed several cavities. We, of course, did the traditional socially acceptable thing...went to the dentist. As a result she had to have over $3,000 worth of work, teeth pulled, and spacers put in. I did NOT like that and neither did she, poor kid! After we went through that, I began to evaluate the root cause of those cavities and what I could do to prevent future ones. I already knew about sugar, but what I didn't know is that eating sugar did not cause the cavities. Sugar consumption results in calcium depletion,which results in enamel loss, which in turn results in tooth decay. Most tooth problems come from the inside out, not the outside in! BUT, I then began researching toothpaste! Here's what I found...

5 Common Ingredients in everyday toothpaste:
   1.Sodium Fluoride - it is one of the main ingredients in rat poison and tooth paste.
Many people are probably aware that most toothpaste and many mouth rinses contain fluoride because that’s what dentists have recommended for years to prevent cavities. But did you know that most popular toothpastes contain enough fluoride in four ounces to kill a small child within 2 to 4 hours? (From “Fluoride Retained From Mouth Rinses and Dentifrices in Preschool Children.”
In children and youth, minimal ingestion of sodium fluoride causes salivation, nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, and diarrhea. Large doses of the carcinogen may cause paralysis, muscular weakness and clonic convulsions, followed by respiratory and cardiac failure. (From “Commercial Toothpaste – Natural or Poison?”)
It’s no wonder that fluoride can cause death in humans! In addition to being one of the main ingredients in toothpaste as well as rat and cockroach poisons, sodium fluoride is also a key component in anesthetic, hypnotic, and psychiatric drugs and SARIN NERVE GAS! (From “Neurotoxicity of Sodium Fluoride in Rats” & “Dental Conditions in Workers Chronically Exposed to Dilute and Anhydrous Hydrofluoric Acid”)
Fluorides have been used throughout history to alter the behavior and mood of human beings. It is a little known fact that fluoride compounds were added to the drinking water of prisoners to keep them quiet and to hamper noncompliance with authority, both in Nazi prison camps during World War II and in the Soviet gulags in Siberia. (From The Cold War and the University)
Surprisingly, fluoride has NEVER been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Additionally, a 1990 study stated that fluoride has been shown to NOT reduce cavities and scientists are now linking fluoride to dental deformity, arthritis, allergic reactions and about 10,000 unnecessary deaths each year from cancer. (From “Fluoride an equivocal carcinogen. National Cancer Institute)
    2. FD&C Blue Dye #1, 2 - is synthesized from petroleum - really?? Colored gasoline?? How would you like your flavored gasoline this morning?? :-)
    3. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) - used clinically to irritate skin. It is used in laboratories to cause irritation so that other products can be tested for healing and yet it's foaming action is supposed to "clean" my teeth?
    4. Triclosan - a common pesticide - a known carcinogen
    5. Hydrated Silica - a whitener that damages enamel. - it scratches the enamel, producing the "whitened" effect but is in reality removing the enamel. 

GRACIOUS! No wonder my kid had cavities! Sugar consumption was removing calcium and minerals from the inside and the toothpaste was disintegrating them from the outside AND was filling her body with dangerous toxins and chemicals every time she brushed her teeth.

"So, what did you do? Buy "organic" toothpaste?" may ask.

No. :-)

Instead of buying expensive "organic toothpaste/powders" that more often than not contained many of the same ingredients just with the word "organic" in front of them, I made my own! Here's what I did....

  Tooth Powder for Healthy Teeth:
1. 1 Tablespoon Diatomaceous Earth
2. 1 Tablespoon Aluminum Free Baking Soda
3. 2 teaspoons Himalayean or Redmond Real Salt
4. A few drops of organic peppermint oil extract

Mix all ingredients together in a small glass container and sprinkle on wet tooth brush. Brush thoroughly for 1 minute and rinse well! Whala! No toxins, no chemicals, and have fresh smelling breath to boot! The Salt also acts as a cleansing agent to the gums, killing bacteriums which cause bad breath. :-)

Well, she began brushing with this mixture daily and it's been 7 years and we've had not one more cavity and the tiny ones she had between her teeth healed and disappeared. My middle child, who is 7, has never been to the Dentist, has no cavities, and has the prettiest whitest teeth ever! Of course she consumes large amounts of healthy foods, raw milk, and raw yogurt everyday to boot, but I firmly believe that what she brushes her teeth with plays a great part in the the health of her teeth!

So if you would like to give even your smallest children something safe and healthy to brush their teeth with, than this is for you! It's also great for adults too and helps eliminate bacterial buildup on the teeth which causes the yellowing affect. Now this is not a replacement for consuming healthy foods, because as I said before, teeth problems come 95% of the time from the inside out :-)

Get out there and give this a try  and watch those Pearlies Shine!

Stay tuned! Tomorrow I'll be sharing my Organic Lavender Body Mist Recipe!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

May 2013 happenings

My goodness....I've been away awhile! :-) Things have been so busy, but I've been using my camera and now I can share what's been happening in our family these past weeks!
I was privileged to be able to decorate for the Going Away Fellowship for the Boylston Family at MBC

My bamboo candle holders...SOOOO cute!

Adalyn followed the Lord in Believers Baptism

We took the kids to a hotel for an overnight trip and let them swim in an indoor pool...Caleb got to try out his "swimsuit"!

My big girl!

My "bigger" girl! lol!
We've begun potty training! **he's not too keen on it yet** :-)

Some of the cousins came over this month for a play/swim they are taking a break to enjoy some yummy chocolate yogurt popsicles!

Me and my honey took a little two day trip over to the Gatlinburg/Cades Cove are of the Smokies...Happy 13th Anniversary to US!

We take this same shot nearly every year we've gone so I have about 6-7 of these :-)

The weekend we went (late May) turned out to be FREEZING! So glad I brought my hoodie! lol! Though I surely could have used some warm pants that day...oh well ;-)

So hard to believe that we've been together 14 years, married for 13 of those and have 5 children (two are with the Lord in Heaven but we still include them in our family!)

Memorial Day 2013....the three big girls...10,13, and 12...goodness :-)

Adalyn and Kade...the two "hoodlums" in our family! lol! Kade was just thrilled with this one :-)

The three little boys...Kole, Caleb, and Ethan

All the girls with the addition of a family friend :-)

All the cousins (except for the one who is due in November.....NOT MINE!!!!) lol!

The three babies....little Bream, little Taylor, and little Chicanteck...such cutie pies:-)

We've had a great Spring and start to the Summer and are now looking forwards to our family trip to Savannah TN here in the next few weeks. I've got a couple of new summer fresh recipes to share so stay tuned this week! Have a blessed day!